Newark archdiocese defends welcoming of LGBT pilgrimage

Newark, N.J., Jun 20, 2017 / 06:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Last month Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark welcomed a pilgrimage of self-identified LGBT pilgrims, with an archdiocesan spokesman saying it should be seen in the context of welcoming everyone, not as archdiocese sponsorship of the event.

“I think that the central point that is missing from the majority of the media coverage and blog postings about this pilgrimage is that the cardinal was asked whether he might welcome a group of pilgrims who identify as LGBT. He said yes, we welcome all in the name of Christ,” James Goodness, communications director for the Archdiocese of Newark, told CNA.

“This was not an event sponsored by the archdiocese, and we did not promote or advertise it,” Goodness said. “It was a purely private event.”

Some news coverage of the pilgrimage depicted it as a shift within the Church.

Cardinal Tobin did not concelebrate Mass or preach at the pilgrimage, which Goodness described as a private event.

“He simply offered a word of welcome as he would do for other groups of pilgrims,” the spokesman said. “It is important to note that the cardinal feels very strongly that welcoming people is a first step in any relationship, and that, as Pope Francis says, we have to meet people and minister to them where they are.”

The group included self-identified LGBT Catholics from around New York and New Jersey. The May 21 visit included a Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart and a tour of the cathedral.

The cardinal greeted the group at the Newark cathedral. “I am Joseph, your brother,” he said. “I am your brother, as a disciple of Jesus. I am your brother, as a sinner who finds mercy with the Lord.”

“The word I use is ‘welcome’,” Cardinal Tobin said in an interview before the Mass, the New York Times reports. “These are people that have not felt welcome in other places. My prayer for them is that they do. Today in the Catholic Church, we read a passage that says you have to be able to give a reason for your hope. And I’m praying that this pilgrimage for them, and really for the whole Church, is a reason for hope.”

The cardinal said it was appropriate “to welcome people to come and pray and call them who they were. And later on, we can talk.”

Goodness told CNA there is a chapter of Courage in the Newark archdiocese, which has been active “for many years.”

Courage ministers to Catholics with same-sex attraction and their friends and family who want to live according to Catholic teaching.

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  1. What is a transgender Catholic, if I may ask? The term is patently ridiculous. Can a transgender Catholic be ordained a deacon or a priest. Can a transgender man be a bridesmaid?

    The archbishop says he didn’t sponsor the event. NO, and he didn’t challenge them either. He allowed them to think all is well, (and that the problem is with the church, not with them). So as a teacher he is useless. Would he welcome a group of MAGA pilgrims. I doubt it.

  2. “The cardinal said it was appropriate “’to welcome people to come and pray and call them who they were. And later on, we can talk’”. If Cardinal Joseph Tobin actually acts to convert LGBT to practice of the faith, at least to desist from deviate sexual behavior his approach has validity.

    • First, given the state of the church today, there is no reason to believe that that is the case.

      Second, there is no validity to his approach, AL notwithstanding, if it includes gay activists receiving communion with his blessing.

      • I agree Pat that they must be excluded from receiving communion and can only do so with the stated condition of refraining from deviate sexual behavior. That’s what I meant by conversion although not stated as a prior condition.

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